Friday, November 30, 2007

Music I Can't Stop Listening To

EDIT: I just got this email from my friend Laura: "I have a nitpicky lyrics comment to make: I believe it's "Krakow, Poland!", not "Cracker, Poland!" Just thought I'd let you know." While I'm disappointed ("cracker poland" made me giggle!), there's the truth of it.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been replaying two albums over and over again in my head & foobar player. You need to hear these CDs, mkay?

Storm Large's The Calm Years is as sexy as it is catchy and angsty. I feel this album is an almost-perfect expression of what it feels like being female in American society, but that might just be my own complete identification with it.

But nevermind all that, the sound is incredible. Storm's voice is as dynamic and explosive as her name suggests. The music compliments her emotion and vocal stylings perfectly and one cannot resist toe-tapping, head-bobbing and the like when listening... even at work. Storm is a freaking force of nature. She cannot be stopped!

The Lovely Feathers' Hind Hind Legs is the other album I can't get enough of. Listening to their songs is like taking a hike that starts at the edge of a forest, but once the song is over you're lost in the woods with no idea how you got there and no memory of how to get back. It's awesome. They have a sound similar to other bands coming out of Montreal with songs that seem often spastic or disjointed if you listen to carefully.

Their lyrics are clever and silly, covering diverse topics as from Pope John Paul's death ("Pope John Paul died today and we say/Pope John Paul, where you from?/Cracker Poland! Cracker Poland!") to making love in a cornfield ("OH lets go outside/put the car in drive/to the cornfield side/there we'll take off our pants/kiss the court and dance"). And while those two aren't in the same song, a lot of other odd combinations are. They'll stick in the cracks of your brain.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sam & Max are Back!

A few weeks ago if you told me you'd never yet experienced the complete awesomeness that is Sam & Max: Freelance Police I would have said I felt very sorry for you . But now everyone has a chance to rediscover them thanks to a new video game that has revitalized interest in the fuzzy duo.

Having been a Sam & Max fan for years, I've had to content myself with a few readings of the (currently but not for long) out-of-print comic (while planning to steal it from my brother's cold dead fingers one of these days), playing Sam & Max Hit the Road and watching the few episodes of the quickly-cancelled Fox cartoon. But now, suddenly the floodgates have opened and the Universe is blessing us with not only another video game, but a re-printing of the comic as well. Now I won't have to kill anybody to get a copy! How awesome is that?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Get a Red Cedar Christmas Tree for $10!

If you live in the Kansas City and you would like to have a live Christmas tree this year, Kansas City WildLands* is here to help. Saturday, December 8th, 10 - 3 PM at Shawnee Mission Park, KCWL will be hosting an event where you can cut down your very own Christmas tree and walk away with it for a mere suggested donation of $10.

KCWL is a coalition to restore, conserve and manage remnant wild areas. Part of what they do is restoring native prairies and when you take home a tree, you'll also be helping restore prairie at Shawnee Mission Park. This is way better than picking up a tree for $25-45 at your local hardware store.

Read more on the KCWL website.

*KCWL is an affiliate of my employer, Bridging The Gap. Go team!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Luminecence: My recent visit to the KC Sculpture Park and Bloch Building

As much as I wanted to make it to the Plaza Lighting Ceremony this Thanksgiving, I managed to miss it anyway. To make up for it, I went to the Nelson-Atkins' Kansas City Sculpture Park Luminary Walk on Saturday.

It was an incredible experience as the Sculpture Park path winds all around the new Bloch building. The Bloch glowing all over the grass was actually more interesting than the luminaries, but the little path-lights led me to places in the Sculpture Park I'd never experienced before. I recommend just walking around the Bloch sometime in the evening... although maybe after it warms up again.

So, the Bloch building, I said a while ago that I would talk about it when I went to see it for the first time, but I was so disappointed after my initial visit that I didn't even feel like talking about it. I was horrified to find inside such shiny architecture ass-loads of wasted space. Instead of being full of beauty and mystery and COLOR! like the main building of the Nelson-Atkins, the Bloch presents a faceless, soulless contemporary gallery-type feel that I do not like.

However, since visiting again, my initially harsh impression has been somewhat softened by the incredible art they keep moving through the Bloch. On my first visit, Kiki Smith's Constellation was set up in one of the galleries and it was easily my favorite piece in the building. An entire room of blue paper grounding glass and metal representations of the constellations is a surprisingly involving experience.

This time, there were two new temporary exhibits up: Time in the West and Tapping Currents. Both feature beautiful and unique pieces that I was happy to encounter. Time in the West had some amazing layers of photographs on top of one another, showing changes in landscape (pictured below). And Tapping Currents, a contemporary African Art exhibit, featured large, bold works that made all the white walls fade into the background. My favorite was Julie Mehretu's Dispersion.

I'm still not 100% sold on Bloch, but I like it a lot better than I did before. And if the Nelson continues to fill it up with such good pieces, I'll no doubt stop complaining all together.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Midwest

The World Resources Institute has released Charting the Midwest a report about the state of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Here are some of the highlights:
-In 2003, the states studied in this report accounted for 25% of US emissions and 5% of world emissions
-If the Midwest were a country, it would rank as the fifth largest emitter of GHG in the world
-Electric generation, transportation and industrial energy use accounted for 75% of emissions
-The average person in these states emits 13% more GHG annually than the national average
-Compared to the US overall, the Midwest is more dependent upon coal for energy

Key findings for Missouri:
"Between 1990 and 2003, Missouri experienced the largest absolute increase in total GHG emissions of any Midwest state, approximately 32 million metric tons of C02. This increase was largely driven by a 22% growth in transportation emissions and a region-leading 54% increase in emissions from electricity generation. Overall emissions growth in Missouri outpaced population growth by a factor of two." (page 14)

Sure, it's slightly depressing, but the good news is that this sort of thing is all the more reason why organizations like Bridging The Gap need to exist and I'm happy to be a part of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Paseo Bridge Design Revealed

The Kansas City Star is saying that the newly unveiled Paseo Bridge design is going to be as iconic for KC as the Golden Gate bridge is for San Francisco. I don't know about that, but I'd be happy if it makes KC get in all the movies instead of the St. Louis arch (which really should've been in KC, you know). And it is absolutely going to be the most beautiful bridge in the city.

Check out this video of what the completed bridge will look like (it will blow you away). Another great new feature will be a pedestrian/bike lane. Construction starts June 2011.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And "Good Christian People" Vote for this Guy?

A recent "special bonus political edition of Dumb Things Guys Say" over at the Evil Slutopia blog features a video of John McCain answering a question about Hillary Clinton. Either go watch the video or go to Evil Slutopia to read a transcript, unless you just like to hear rants you know nothing about.

I'm disgusted, pissed and bummed out by this. No matter how much our elected officials, for the most part MALES, fuck up the nation and fuck over their citizens it is still THAT threatening to people that a woman wants to be the president? It's not like it even MATTERS in the long run who is elected, because they don't hold any real power anyway. The people with that power don't have to be elected. And I'm voting for Hillary in part to flip the bird at people like McCain and his supporters. I refuse to accept a world where a body with breasts, ovaries and a vagina is still treated like a bimbo in what is still largely a boy's club.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Caturday Clip: Cowbell Hero

What's better than Guitar Hero? Oh, I think you'll see...

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Concert Review: Australian Pink Floyd at the Uptown Theater

I went and saw Australian Pink Floyd with my little brother Wednesday night at the Uptown Theater, which is now located a convenient block away from my new apartment. I'd never been to the Uptown before and I was surprised how beautiful it is on the inside, considering the outside sets me up to think it will look like a faux-carnival inside (although I guess if I looked at more than the marquee, I would have noticed the dome!).

Instead, I found elaborately painted wooden panels, statues and and a layout that all made it look like something that wanted to be from 1700s Italy. It was gorgeous.

Unfortunately, its old layout meant that the front half of the audience had to sit on plastic folding chairs and, if you were me and your seat mysteriously didn't exist where it was supposed to, partially behind a pillar as well. Needless to say, the concert wasn't what I'd describe to my museum geek friends as "an optimal flow experience."

But who the hell cares? I got to hear faux-Floyd played live! When we came in (late) they were playing "Time," then the back-up singers carried us away with some incredible vocalizing. The first half was difficult to enjoy or pay attention to because of the whole disappearing chair issue and my anxiety that they would not play the one song I wanted to hear, but I was somewhat settled down after a disgusting drink and a cigarette during the intermission.

The second and longest part of the show started with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and then, wouldn't you know it? The song I'd been waiting for and my favorite Pink Floyd song evar: "One of These Days." I know that's a weird song to have as my favorite, but Meddle is the only P.F. album I really listen to regularly so it's my favorite. Plus, I think "One of These Days" is a perfect stream of sound. I love the double bass line and the crescendos of brighter sound exploding over it (if this song was a person I'd have sex with it). Plus, I love growling "one of these days I'm going to cut you into little pieces." I love it so much that I often automatically say that line when someone trails off a sentence with "one of these days..."

Okay, but back to the show. Next Aussie Floyd played a a few songs from The Wall, of course, and Animals. Watching the crowd stand, shake their fists, and scream "Teachers! Leave Those Kids Alone!" was an incredibly moving experience. And then, of course, everyone also sang along when they encoured with "Comfortably Numb."

The images that flashed on the screen now and then were often amusing as kangaroos were inserted into the graphics as often as possible, but for the most part I found them boring. Once or twice they were really impressive, like when the backup singers were keening like crazy over images of gigantic waves. That was amazing.

Of course, it wasn't like actually listening to Pink Floyd but it was close enough. I enjoyed how Aussie Floyd made the experience their own and the excitement and joy of the crowd - parts of which were composed of seriously old people - made this one of top two shows I've ever seen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

America Recycles Day

Today is America Recycles Day and I'm pretty sure you can guess what it's all about. The National Recycling Coalition is encouraging people to take a pledge, and getting involved locally. They're also offering education resources covering topics like why it's important and interesting end products.

Here's why I think it's important: the average household produces 2,020 pounds of waste annually. Imagine just the waste from the households on your block. It would no doubt bury your neighborhood. Instead, we're burying other neighborhoods and ecological niches with our waste when we could be doing all sorts of better things with it, like turning it into things we want and need.

You might also want to check out the EPA's Personal Emissions Calculator to see how many pounds of waste your household produces and how much that can be cut down through recycling.

For Kansas City area people, you can go here to find where you can recycle even odd items like microwaves and paint.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Simplify Your Holidays With the Alternative Gift Registry

As I may have implied yesterday, I would rather duck out of holiday festivities all together in order to avoid the pressure and stress that comes along with them. One of the worst headache-inducing aspects is gift-giving and/or receiving. Thankfully, the New American Dream has created the Alternative Gift Registry to help us out.

"We all love giving and receiving gifts; it’s important to our culture and good for the spirit. When the gifts we buy don’t match our values, however, they can distract from, rather than deepen, the meaning behind an event, despite the best intentions of those involved. The cost to gift-givers—not to mention the environmental impacts—also adds up quickly.

By encouraging non-material, second-hand, homemade, and environmentally friendly gifts, we seek to continue the proud tradition of gift-giving while helping celebrants focus on what matters most: a joyous commemoration with loved ones that honors the important moments in their lives."

It's easy, free and best of all, now you don't have to listen to any one complain because you don't have an online wishlist for them to shop from. Ease + value = my kind of present! Sign up to create your registry today and finally get something you'll treasure this year.

(my smarmasaur sure raised his head in that last paragraph, huh?)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Purchase Necessary

Nov. 23 is coming up soon and with it all of the psychotic Christmas commercialism that goes with Black Friday. It's so perfectly placed after Thanksgiving, a day we've been conditioned to believe is a day for devouring as much as humanly possible. What better way to enjoy the next-day bloaty feeling, but with a group of strangers fighting for cheap electronics?

Well, Adbusters is suggesting an alternative: Buy Nothing Day. From their press release:

Buy Nothing Day has taken many shapes, from relaxed family outings, to free, non-commercial street parties, to politically charged public protests. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending.

In past years, street activists have proven particularly imaginative in their celebrations, bringing zombie marches, credit-card cut-ups, and shopaholic clinics to malls and public squares in an effort to expose the environmental and social consequences of First World over-consumption.
As you should have picked up by this time, I'm totally for making our lifestyles sustainable because I think that people shouldn't go extinct. That's my end goal, and to get there are tons of silly little things like not buying into consumerist bullshit. I challenge you to think of what you can do to change your family's celebrations this year into something that is good for everybody.

More reading:
Buy Nothing Day
Buy Nothing Christmas
Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday
Green Holiday Tips
How to Have a Green Christmas

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Monday, November 12, 2007

My Top Ten Authors

It's that time of year again when I start reading more. For some reason I have an aversion to going outside after dark and since it gets dark at 5pm now, I'm spending a lot of leisure time at home. Luckily for me I have an enormous pile of used books from Seattle that I've yet to read, including some books by some of my all-time favorite authors:

1. Richard Adams (England, b. 1920)
Since I couldn't decide any other way to do it, this list is vaguely in the order in which I discovered the authors. Richard Adams has been a part of my life since I was a kid in the form of Watership Down. It was just about the only fiction book my dad would read out loud to us (everything else was all biblical.. yeesh) and, to give my dad credit, he has a great style for reading out loud. Because of it, I've been in love with that novel, rereading it several times over the years. I only recently started reading more books by him, including Maia and Shardik (both of which take place in the same universe with some few overlapping characters).

I love Adams because he is vivaciously descriptive and because he truly love his characters and the worlds they inhabit. It is easy to get swept away with him.

2. E.E. Cummings (U.S., 1894-1962)
Still the poet who influences me the most subconsciously, I am almost ashamed to admit that I discovered Cummings because of a Johnathon Taylor Thomas movie. But despite all that, I fell in love with his brevity, depth of feeling and sharp insight. Whenever I've fallen in love, his poetry captures it the best and it seems no other author is so able to evoke what I'm feeling while not talking about it at all.

3. Margaret Atwood (Canada, b. 1939)
Atwood is THE feminist novelist of North America in my opinion. Introduced to her by way of a Political Science project requiring A Handmaid's Tale be read, Atwood was one of my favorite authors to write papers about in college because her characters and situations are so effortlessly disturbing, like a good episode of The Twilight Zone. My top Atwood suggestions are The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake and Good Bones and Simple Murders.

4. Orson Scott Card (U.S., b. 1951)
I was introduced to Card through Ender's Game which made a huge impact on my life. As I was growing up, I was convinced that adults kept vital information from children in order to control them and Ender's Game faced that reality as only science fiction can. Later the other books in the Ender "Trilogy" eclipsed it in significance, but I will never be able to forget the solidarity that I felt with Ender. Plus, it's good sci-fi too.

I know Card writes fantasy as well, but since most fantasy books disappoint me, I've been avoiding it. If someone were to suggest a good Card fantasy to me though, I'd probably give it a chance (hint, hint).

5. Tim O'Brien (U.S., b. 1946)
My all-time-favorite Vietnam veteran/writer, Tim O'Brien does an incredible job of exploring the destruction or deadening of the psyche as a response to war. Since America is -goddammit- almost constantly at war, O'Brien isn't going to stop being relevant for a long, long time. His characters are perfectly articulated through a careful balance of their thoughts, their stuff, and their interactions. I'd suggest starting with The Things They Carried or The Nuclear Age.

6. Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina, 1899-1986)
Borges is pretty much The Man when it comes to Magical Realism. His narrators have encountered the Fountain of Youth and Homer, the Real Don Quixote, an object for viewing the entire Universe, and much much more. Fascinated with the nature of time, memory, reality and identity, Borges stories, essays and poems evoke his continual wonder in the face of the unknown.

7. Jeanette Winterson (England, b. 1959)
Winterson is an imaginative lesbian author whose writing style is like Virginia Woolf without all of the hangups and an added shot of sexy. She was also raised by crazy Fundamentalists, which gives me a special affinity for her and certain of her characters. My favorite of her books is still Written on the Body and its gender-bending narrator who might be male or female.

8. Neil Gaiman (England, b. 1960)
In my opinion, Gaiman is the only author who has been able to successfully revive (not just re-interpret) the power of myth in modern times. His success is because he is not afraid to re-invent the old gods or to invent new gods to stand in where none previously existed. In my mind, this gives his writing a power that other people might not see, but even without that, his stories are incredible journeys of fancy and fear that will suck you in so fast your head will spin.

9. Peter Carey (Australia, b. 1943)
Carey writes about Australia in the way that only an insider can and produces brilliant pieces of humanity that capture an era. His novels tend towards the tragic ultimately, but the adventure along the way makes the destination matter less. I recommend Oscar and Lucinda as the best place to start with him.

10. J.K. Rowling (England, 1965)
I don't have much to say about Rowling except that she is giving Gaiman a run for his money when it comes to reviving old myths. Taking the best from the fantasy genre, Rowling has created a Universe that continues to expand, growing in complexity from a simple beginning. I have read the Harry Potter books more times in the past 4 years that I've ever re-read any book (except for maybe Watership Down). Best of all, while she's using mythic structures in her magical universe, she's also staying true to her characters (look at how easily she resolved the whole Snape issue in book 7). All sorts of awesomeness.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Movie Review: Across The Universe

While I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but since seeing Across the Universe I've been singing their songs anyway. Suddenly they seem actually relevant. I do love a good story about the Vietnam War (or, for our Vietnamese friends, the America War) Era. Partly out of historical curiosity and partly out of knowing that generations' struggles are also our own. Across the Universe did an incredible job of capturing past concerns and using them as a metaphor for our own generations' problems with war.

On top of that, the look and feel of the film was beautiful and lush. My favorite sequence was set to "Strawberry Fields Forever" (a song I've never been fond of) and it explored the frustration of an artist in the face of violence. Jude is shown creating pieces of art by pinning strawberries to a canvas. The simplicity and power of the imagery completely blew me away. (You can see a video of another war scene here).

Since seeing the film, I've had Beatles songs stuck in my head most days on my walk to work. This film will stay with you in the best of ways.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Space Debris: The Sky Is Falling

My friend Beau recently posted this video in his blog the other day so when I went over to a friend's house and they were talking about a comet they were looking for, I mentioned what I remembered of it. I'm always a bit dodgy talking about things like that (since you never know who'll take you for a crazy) but I was ecstatic to hear them respond by asking if I'd seen their space debris!


The other night they heard something that sounded like a gunshot hit their house. Thinking someone was trying to shoot our their windows, they called the cops who walked around the house and found a point of impact.

It turns out that this small weird piece of ashy something that reminded me of an insect exoskelton crashed into the corner of their house, breaking through the siding and impacting into (and scorching) the wood beneath it. Then it fell down through the siding to the ground which was also scorched and dusted with ash.

From point of impact, it could only have come down from the sky on a straight diagonal path. So now they're in contact with NASA about it. Freaking space debris coming down just miles away from where I live... it's like living in one of my sci-fi alternate reality dreams.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

FreeRice: Play to End World Hunger

My friend Gia told me about a game/donation program FreeRice which uses a vocabulary-based game to generate rice donations for the United Naitons to end world hunger. According to the FAQs:

The rice is paid for by the advertisers whose names you see on the bottom of your vocabulary screen. This is regular advertising for these companies, but it is also something more. Through their advertising at FreeRice, these companies support both learning (free vocabulary for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry).
Go and get yourself some free learning and help someone hungry. It's good for body, mind and soul.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard

Sunday the Evil Slut Clique posted about something I think everyone should hear about, so I'm re-posting part of it here. You can read the full blog at Evil Slutopia.

Our myspace friend Jill Brenneman brought this to our attention and we think it's really important that this story circulate as far and wide as possible.

Here's the deal:

Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard!

Sex Workers Join Women's Groups and Sexual Assault Survivors' Groups to Urge PA Voters to Vote 'No' on the Retention of Judge Teresa Carr Deni

Judge Teresa Carr Deni spawned outrage from all directions after ruling on October 4th that a sex worker that was raped at gunpoint by multiple men was NOT sexually assaulted, rather she was just robbed. Deni commented in an Oct. 12th interview that this case "minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who are really raped."

Grassroots activists around the country, including nationwide sex worker-led organizations such as the Desiree Alliance and regional advocacy groups from coast to coast responded with anger and disgust for Deni's disregard of the basic human rights of the rape victim in this case. "Deni's decision in this case sends a message that sex workers can be targeted for violence with impunity. Rape of sex workers is common, alarmingly under-reported, and rarely taken seriously by authorities," Kitten Infinite of Sex Workers' Outreach Project said. "Violence against sex workers is perpetuated by the state through discriminatory laws and judicial rulings such as this."

Sex workers in the US and abroad are organizing and becoming more vocal about the violence and discrimination that they face. "Because prostitution is criminalized, our human rights and our boundaries are clearly not respected," Mariko Passion, a board member from the Desiree Alliance commented, she continues, "…forcing or manipulating sexual intercourse by fraud, fear or coercion is rape." On Oct 30th, after considerable pressure from sex workers and feminists around the country, the PA Bar Association issued a statement condemning Deni's action, stating that, "The victim has been brutalized twice in this case: first by the assailants, and now by the court."

The Desiree Alliance applauds Association Chancellor Jane Dalton's review of the matter and we find some satisfaction in the fact that the District Attorney's office has re-filed rape charges against the perpetrator of this despicable crime. However, we still call on voters to vote 'No' on retaining Deni in the election on November 6th. The Desiree Alliance will hold a virtual press conference and rally on Monday, November 5th at 5pm Eastern for sex workers and allies to comment publicly about this case and how to prevent further discrimination against sex workers.

“This case minimizes true rape cases and demeans women who were really raped.”

Just off the top of my head, let me try my hand at a real list of things that minimize true rape cases and/or demean women who have really been raped or sexually assaulted. Which oh by the way, by extension, demeans all women.

~The culture of “blame the victim” that we live in:

“what did she expect wearing an outfit like that?”

“come on, everybody knows she’s a slut, why should we believe she was raped?”

“she’s probably just out for money/revenge”

“they were friends/dating/married, he couldn’t have raped her”

“she didn’t come forward right away, so she must be lying”

“she had it coming”

Who hasn’t heard at least one of these things said about someone? It’s amazing that any women come forward to report their rapes, knowing what they’ll have to go through, and that there’s a chance that at the end of it all, they’ll end up putting everything in the hands of someone like Judge Deni.

~Women who lie about being raped and make false rape accusations…but more importantly, the people who believe that there are many many women out there doing this, when in reality it’s a very very small percentage. Lying about being raped is a horrible and damaging thing to do, but the myth that women “cry rape” all the time is just as damaging.

~Refusing to call a rape a rape. Unfortunately, Judge Deni doesn't have a lock on judges making stupid decisions and using ridiculous rationalizations in a rape case, not by a long shot. A few months ago, we heard the story of a Nebraska judge who barred anyone from using the word "rape"...during a rape trial.

'Last fall, Cheuvront granted a motion by defense attorneys barring the use of the words rape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit from the trial of Pamir Safi—accused of raping Tory Bowen in October 2004.' The first trial resulted in a hung jury last year, and in the retrial the words will once again be banned. The only word left to use by both the defense and the prosecution to describe what happened? Sex.

Rape is not sex. Rape is violence, power, control. Crime. Not sex. Rape is rape. There is no way around this, and the courtroom is the last place on earth where anyone should be pretending that there is. As the victim in the Nebraska case said herself:

"I refuse to call it sex, or any other word that I'm supposed to say, encouraged to say on the stand, because to me that's committing perjury. What happened to me was rape, it was not sex."

~The idea that rape is only a women's issue, and that women are totally responsible for taking steps to prevent it. Men can (and should) stop rape, and women shouldn't be made to feel like they have to be on anti-rape patrol every minute of their lives or they will be partially to blame if they are raped.

~The false notion that sex workers are never 'off the clock'. Strippers don't want to show off their bodies to anyone and everyone 24/7, and prostitutes are not required to have sex on demand. How sad is it that we still have to spell this out? And not only to some random sexist moron on the street, but to a judge with the power to decide a rapist's fate.

Find out what you can do to help at the original post. (Re-posted by permission).

Monday, November 5, 2007

Music for Healing: Charity Compilation

Waxploitation will launch its Causes campaign on November 27th. This campaign will bring together artists' exclusive tracts to be sold on iTunes for 90 days as well as through a limited-press CD with all proceeds going to one of three charities: Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam America. See below for a list of tracts on Causes 1 or go pre-order.

1. Animal Collective - Safer (exclusive live version)
2. Black Keys - Stay all night (exclusive chulahoma Session)
3. Bloc Party - Rhododendrons
4. Bright Eyes - Coat check dream song (exclusive live version)
5. Cornelius - Wataridori (exclusive piano version)
6. David Sylvian - Late night shopping (exclusive chris vrenna remix)
7. Death Cab for Cutie - World shut your mouth (rare julian cope cover)
8. (International) Noise Conspiracy - Washington bullets
9. The Cure - The walk (exclusive live version)
10. The Shins - Turn on me (exclusive clint mansell remix)
11. Spoon - Rhythm & soul (exclusive Middle Version)
12. Teargas & Plateglass - One day across the valley
13. Thievery Corporation - Passing the stars
14. Travis - Gimme some truth (exclusive john lennon cover)

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Caturday Clip: Stop-Motion Polaroids - Watch more free videos

Originally from, this video was created with 987 Polaroids and no computer compositing (found via TechEBlog).

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Photographic Philanthropy: Blue Earth Alliance

Earlier I blogged about how art is being used for climate change research. Today, I'm going to tell you about how art is being used to support social change. Thanks to LifePrints, I've found out about an awesome organization called Blue Earth Alliance and their program of Photography that Makes a Difference. Their philosophy is that compelling documentary photography can be an impetus for change.

Blue Earth Alliances assists photographers with financial, marketing and technical resources. Their projects range from documenting rape and recovery to Delta blues musicians and from Siberia to Uganda. Their range and impact is incredible. Just one more way that art is making life better.

Photo from and photographers Benjamin Drummond and Sarah Steele.

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Leslie of Ms. Led tells me what's what

A while back I wrote a review of Ms. Led's latest album, Shake Yourself Awake. Needless to say, I was happy to receive an email response from Leslie last week answering a question I posed. Here's what she had to say:

the reason i'm writing is to tell you what "willing to stay" is all about.
first of all, here are the lyrics:

i know that you're not ready to leave
but can you be so sure
that you are really willing to stay?
i can't really guarantee that i won't mess this up tomorrow
you seem pretty done with how i've messed this all up today
i never wanted you to look at me that way.

don't tell me that you're giving up this time
just tell me that you'll try
cuz i don't want you to go.

you're asking all these questions
trying to sort out my intentions
that i can't even sort out for myself.
can't make this any easier
can't make this any clearer
and i'm sorry but i just can't seem to sort this out for somebody else.
you know i've never handled confrontation well.

don't tell me that you're giving up this time
just tell me that you'll try
cuz i don't want you to go.

i don't want this to end
you're my best friend
i'll need you more than you'll ever know.

patience is wearing thin
you think you've seen my true skin
and i've shattered what you've seen in me for years.
can't get that back
but where i am is where we're at.
and now all we have to do is get through here...

i think the song may make sense to you just seeing the lyrics, but it comes down to being in a long-term relationship while suffering from an existential crisis. the last few years were really hard for me, meanwhile my girlfriend was the great supportive girlfriend, putting up with me and all my flaws. while i was trying to figure out my own crap, i was putting her through similar crap and she was done with it and i knew it. i couldn't necessarily 'stop' dealing with my own issues, but i was trying to get her to hang on while i worked on my own stuff. it was hard because she and i were at such a crucial point and we had gone from that great "love jail" world where nothing is ever wrong to actually dealing with ourselves as individuals with real problems while in a relationship . i think we both wanted it to stay easy. the 'willing to stay' line at the beginning is basically me saying, "look i can tell you love me and don't necessarily want to break up with me, but are you sure that you really want to stick around? because i don't know that it's going to get any better than this anytime soon".

geez, i can't tell if that made the song make more sense or made it more confusing...

i don't know why i felt compelled to tell you all this - i think it's because you stated "someone please tell me!" on your blog and i figured i'd be the only one with the answer!!

take care-
lesli (of Ms. Led)

Thanks, Leslie.

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